Unbelievable Day on the Reef

36 years of SCUBA diving in Yap, over 14,700 dives and today was one for the ages. I am regularly
asked what my favorite dive is and invariably I answer “Yap Caverns, because you never know what
you are going to see.” I have seen pilot whales, whale sharks, oceanic silver tips, oceanic white tips,
huge schools of bump head wrasse, harlequin ghost pipe fish, leaf fish, etc., etc., etc… and today was no
exception to the thought that you can see anything at Yap Caverns/Lionfish Wall.

I went diving today with 2 people who have become good friends over the years, Patricia and Andreas Hillebrand from Manheim, Germany. They are three time repeat guests who will be with us for 18 days this trip, also with us was our newest dive guide Matt Yuwun and driver William Seiwemai.

Yap Spinner Dolphin Jumping from Yap Divers Boat

As we approached the mooring buoy, we saw a large school of spinner dolphins jumping and playing some 100 yards from the boat. During the dive briefing we noticed them getting closer and closer, so the plan was to jump in the water and swim immediately to the edge of Lionfish wall to see if we could get a glimpse of these normally shy animals. We did get fleeting glimpses of them but they were a bit too far away, thus we turned around and entered the caverns and listened to them the entire dive.

Yap spinner dolphins swimming with Yap Divers boat

Yap spinner dolphins swimming with Yap Divers boat

 

Just as we were ending our dive, we noticed a group of 6 dolphins swimming close to us as we began our assent to our safety stop along
Lionfish Wall. They came within 10 feet of us and all of a sudden one rolled on her back and a male swam on top of her and appeared to clasp her with his fins and then proceeded to mate, again not 10 feet from us in crystal clear water. Where were the cameramen when we needed them?

Wait, it got even better. Having removed our gear on the boat, William noticed that dolphins were
approaching the boat from all angles so he moved off the wall and they began playing in the bow wave
of the boat. William stopped the boat and some 100 or more dolphins stayed right with us. We quickly grabbed our masks, let down the ladder and got back into the water holding the rope as
we watched. Dolphins everywhere, and then again, 2 couples mated not more than 30 feet below us in gin clear water. Holy Cow! Unbelievable day on the reef!

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